The Small Machine Talks to Pearl Pirie, Episode 71

Pearl Pirie is a queer concussed writer living in rural Quebec. Her poetry collection, the pet radish, shrunken (Book*hug, 2015) won the Archibald Lampman Award. Her manuscript Thirsts won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and was published in 2011. Her first trade collection was been shed bore (Chaudiere Books, 2010). Her poems have been included in Best Canadian Poetry in English twice, and have appeared in various anthologies. Her newest chapbooks are Call Down the Walls (Frog Hollow Press, 2019), Eldon, letters (above/ground, 2019), Not Quite Dawn (Éditions des petits nuages, 2020) and forthcoming, Water loves its bridges: Letters to the dead (The Alfred Gustav Press, 2020). She runs phafours press, Chalkpaths manuscript editing service, and Studio Nouveau workshops.

Pearl’s site

footlights (Radiant Press, 2020)

Pearl describes the book and reads a poem. We talk about the cover art by Faith Logan, and the covers for Pearl’s books. We discuss the epigraphs in the book and quotations, including those from social media. We discuss difficulties of memory and methods of tracking observations. Pearl is a judge for this year’s Bisexual Book Awards.

We discuss writing novels and ethics. Pearl talks about a Nova Scotian werewolf, one of her characters.

Musing the Margins: Essays on Craft edited by Audrey T. Carroll (Human/Kind Press, 2020)

We discuss the relationship between humans and nature in the book, and the way Pearl’s writing changes in rural and urban settings. We talk about nature poetry.

We discuss Pearl’s reading and her love of Star Trek, fantasy and speculative fiction. I talk about my own need of reading more speculative fiction of late. I ask about incorporating fantasy/sci fi into poetry.

Augur Magazine

We speak about literary community and our mutual histories. Pearl talks about being othered outside the literary world. Both of us would attend reading series that began at 8 a.m.

Pearl will read at a new online reading series in Wakefield and will also launch Water Loves Its Bridges at some point. She’s looking for a venue to play her half-hour, edited reading from footlights.

I point out that if you’re a member, you can apply for funding for a video reading through the League of Canadian Poets.

footlights is a collection that combines ferocious care and delicatesse, wonder and keen observation, with minimalism, brilliant figurative language, humour and word play. in this book, there is strength, compassion, tenderness and vulnerability. Pearl doesn’t flinch away from illness, discomfort, anger, ageing, blood, or the struggles of the body.

Thanks to Pearl Pirie for being on the show, to Charles for processing, to Jennifer Pederson for the theme song, and to all of you for listening and sharing the episode. Stay tuned for the next episodes with Frances Boyle, and a special episode on the poetic elements of music in December featuring amazing musician Subhraj Singh. and in the new year, Connor McDonnell, Jennifer K. Dick, Rasiqra Revulva, Dominik Parisien and Jennifer Mulligan for starters. Stay tuned!